Riverside Avenue Opens at Willowbranch Creek

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

The happiest day of his life, according to David Touring, was Thursday, Dec. 12, when he opened Riverside Avenue again to traffic after nine months of closure. Although he did not compare it to giving birth, those  nine long months were one constant pain to Touring, the general contractor for the project, and to nearby residents.

A team of landscapers worked feverishly on Saturday, Dec. 14, to open the new sidewalk and lay sod in order to present a finished look for the annual Riverside/Avondale Luminaria Night on Dec. 15.

A team of landscapers worked feverishly on Saturday, Dec. 14, to open the new sidewalk and lay sod in order to present a finished look for the annual Riverside/Avondale Luminaria Night on Dec. 15.

“I’m just happy to get this done,” he said, watching the asphalt being laid on Dec. 11. “We’re opening the road a week ahead of our [revised] schedule.”
The project was bid at $337,000 but final total cost is approaching $500,000 as a result of changes requested by the City and the fixes required when construction dams blew out after heavy rainfalls last summer. After three attempts to do what the plans specified, Touring finally contracted with another company that specializes in cofferdams to resolve the flooding that was impeding progress.

On his own dime, Touring is replacing the sidewalk in front of the condo after the owners had asked the City to replace it.

“I guarantee you it will look great, it will be done right and we won’t leave anything hanging,” the contractor said. “We’ve all been in it together and trying hard.”
Touring is now waiting for reimbursement from the City of Jacksonville in order to complete the project, erecting the balustrades along the sidewalk. “There’s a long lead time on the balustrades and that’s the last thing that’s going to happen,” he said. “When they’re put in, it’s done.”

The contractor estimates that completion will occur by March, one year after beginning what should have been a four or five month project.

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